The 2012 NBA Draft is Thursday night, and while the national conversation is centered around how the lottery will shake out and what big-time draft day deals may take place, here in New York there are plenty of Knicks fans who are actually excited about the 48th pick, the Knicks' lone choice in this year's draft.
Some people (like myself) look at mock NBA Drafts all year. Others might start paying attention now. The picture becomes a bit clearer as we approach the actual draft, but the second round is always unpredictable. Throw in the fact that most people can't figure out this year's lottery, and we may be on the cusp of one of the zaniest drafts in a long time. Either way, most believe the 2012 draft to be one of the deepest in years.
DraftExpress, one of the top NBA mock draft sites, projects the Knicks taking Texas A&M small forward Khris Middleton, a 6-foot-8 junior. Middleton actually saw his draft stock plummet over the course of this college season, as a knee injury hampered him. He's an athletic guy and a decent offensive player, but his lack of catch-and-shoot ability raises a red flag, one that the Knicks should notice quite a bit since spot-up shooting is something the team desperately lacks.
The other top mock draft site, NBADraft.net, has the Knicks selecting LSU's 7-foot junior center Justin Hamilton. The site ranked him the No. 8 center in the draft, describing him as so:
He's not dominant in one particular area, although he sports a soft touch in the post and can get up and down the floor. Teams looking for size and some front court presence could give Hamilton a look in that 45-60 range.
I've never seen Hamilton play, but I'll say that you can never have enough size. If Hamilton is gritty and plays big, it could be a solid choice. The Knicks have Jerome Jordan as a project big man, but he's someone who needs to seriously bulk up and round into his enormous frame before he can be considered as a possible minutes guy. Maybe Hamilton is closer along that Jordan, and if so it wouldn't be a horrible pick.
The Knicks Blog made a Top-5 list of realistic picks for the Knicks, and I tend to agree with Tommy on Darius Johnson-Odom, who could be a steal at 48 if he gets there. The Marquette guard is a tough cookie who can score in a variety of ways. Personally, I just feel that the Knicks could do way worse than Johnson-Odom given where their pick is.
T'would certainly be nice if the Knicks had a clue as to whether or not they'll actually be able to bring back Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, but the pair's Bird Rights case is being appealed by the NBA. Lin helps solidify the Knicks' point guard situation - even with him they need another good point guard but without him they are a disaster at the position - and Novak gives them a catch-and-shoot presence, and even if Novak is back the Knicks need more in that department.